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Melissa Harris-Perry (who has been doing an excellent job of subing for Rachel Maddow) asked Howard Fineman a real interesting question.  "Is there a structural problem being evident here?" (paraphrasing)

Howard Fineman, as any member of the establishment would, punted and said "Yes."  An odd way to punt but he said that the problem was that the ideological extremes will not allow the government to deal with the major issues facing this nation.

But he, as all establishment members, will NOT look at the real problem.  The government is the problem.  Please don't confuse my meaning. I'm not saying that Democrats are the problem.  Or that we should lessen government services.  We should increase them.

I mean the structure of the government has outlived it's usefulness!  

Now you will find no more fervent devotee of the Founders than me.  I grew up listening to my father, an excellent history teacher, telling stories of the Founders as a sports fan would tell their children of great Super Bowls.  And I have no fear that those men and women would tell us it's time for a change.  Didn't Jefferson say that no generation should be bound by the laws and government of another?

We have a government that does not work.  Jobs and the Economy? Hasn't been looked at since jobs were being lost at 750,000 a month! Climate Change? Can't be talked about (Senate)! Infrastructure? Can't be appropriated due (Tea Party House bc of gerrymandered districts)! Financial Reform? Public screaming for it! Passed a vague law full of 400 regulations (eviscerated by Lobbyists through regulatory process and stalled by filibuster in the Senate of CFPB director!)  Healthcare Reform? Noble attempt but almost entirely gutted (Filibuster in the Senate!)

And now they can't fucking pay their G-d Damned Bills!

We need a Constitutional Convention!

We need to acknowledge the regulatory state in the Constitution!

We need to weaken an overly powerful executive! (How about just Question Time if we can not even try to prevent the President from going to war whenever he or she feels like it.)

We need to strengthen a Congress that has given away all its power! (I think we need to eliminate the Senate.  I don't need any cold tea Mr. Washington.)

We need to provide for national initiative and recall powers!

WE NEED TO ELIMINATE MONEY IN POLITICS!  (I want to ban all spending in political elections of any kind on the British model while weakening the power of media corporations (anybody want to trustbust!). And ban the ability to hire someone to speak to a legislator or regulator for you).

Am I wrong or is this government done?  What other changes need to be made?

On a technical note, I wish you could pick multiple choices in a DKos poll.


Which is the most important constitutional reform necessary?

6%1 votes
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53%8 votes
20%3 votes
6%1 votes
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| 15 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips for Constitutional Reform! (3+ / 0-)

    "Now we are engaged in a great civil war testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure."

    by nklein on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 07:21:22 PM PDT

  •  Some DFH from 200 years ago once said (5+ / 0-)
    "Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. ... I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. ... But I also know that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind... As new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times."

    --Thomas Jefferson

    Some people have the nerve!

    "Respect for the rights of others is peace." -- Benito Juarez, president of Mexico

    by Blue Boy Red State on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 07:52:06 PM PDT

  •  I think we have come to the point where (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Blue Boy Red State

    we are too divided ideologically and maybe we should just divide the country and go our own way. I don't want any part of the rising theocratic feudalism.

    Una Spenser had a good diary of demands of what we would want a good government to be, and what we have is too far off from what we want.

    •  You don't think that the Founding generation. . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      was equally as divided.  You had Dr. Benjamin Rush who was just as much of a theocrat.  

      The one difference was that they had George Washington.  We may need to find a George Washington.


      "Now we are engaged in a great civil war testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure."

      by nklein on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 08:15:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes but that was why there were states. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and people usually went to states that most suited their preferences. There wasn't a whole lot of overarching effects that bound the states under the Federal gov't back then. Communication over long distances was slow. Commerce was largely localized. There was no internet. There were no electronic trading markets. There was no New Deal. Things have changed. We added territories and states. We can change and have changed.

        Back then we had an agrarian society. Now we have a dystopian money moving society.

        As we assembled, so can we subdivide. These teabaggers are anachronisms. They are impinging on my quiet enjoyment. They are breaching the social compact. If they want the bronze age so bad, they should get it.

        •  No. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Patrick Henry who railed against the Constitution and James Madison who mostly wrote it came from the same state.  People did not subdivide by ideology during first congress and the ratification process people from the same states railed against the constitution from the left and the right.  

          Too authoritarian, not strong enough so on and so forth.  Different ideologies had different strengths in different regions, but there were Massachusetts Democratic- Republicans like John Qunicy Adams or southern federalists like Madison at first.

          It was not until antebellum period that ideologies gained ultimate dominance in the several regions.  And America is not yet as bad as it was in 1858.

          Moreover, the Federal government was very active in the  Confederation and Constitutional periods.  The federal governments failure to prevent the violence of the Shays rebellion and other conflicts between the states led people even in this rancorous period to come together to form a new government.

          During the first Congress, the federal government added the Bill of Rights, assumed the debt of the states, placed the capital in D.C. and created the Bank of the United States.  As well as basically setting up our government.  These were difficult decisions that were hard to come by and took compromise, but eventually happened.

          Now our government is just as dysfunctional as the Confederation Congress.  I have faith in our people's ability to put in place a more efficient system.

          "Now we are engaged in a great civil war testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure."

          by nklein on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 11:31:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I respectfully think you are wrong (0+ / 0-)

    At our last constitutional convention in 1787, the current constitutional framework was formed, this in itself was a stunning compromise and it is notable that all deliberations were kept secret and many of the most hyper-partisan voices of the day (e.g., Jefferson, Adams) watched from the sidelines-and the factions/approaches of that time were not much different than the groups you see in the modern debates. The main difference now is the 4th estate. I can't imagine a similar event happening in today's media controlled environment and I'm afraid you would see things like needing 2/3 majorities for tax increases proposed, balanced budget amendments, severe term limits; I shudder to think about what some conservative entities might try to strong arm through a convention setting. It would be a disaster on every level.  Politics wield power and you can never remove monetary influence from this equation. The truth is that the constitution has served us pretty well to make "we the people" of many different backgrounds some of the most prosperous people on the planet... yes we sometimes shoot ourselves in the foot, but we as a people have a tremendous capacity to self correct. I refuse to think that the rise of the self-destructive tea party types in our politics will sink this great country.

    •  Yes but it has been broken for a while (0+ / 0-)

      Nothing can get through the Senate.  And now just many minorities and the powerless are losing out but the majorities are losing out to extent not seen since the 19th century.

      But in the end at some the corporate elites couldn't play on the politicians.  We were supposed to reach that point with the election of Barack Obama and I do not doubt his and some of our legislators good intentions.  But I don't think

      I understand that we may have to swallow some things we don't like.  I doubt it will be 2/3 majorities on taxes bc we CA know how bad that is and we are too big to allow it to happen.  But we have to fix this before we destroy more than our country, but the world.

      And there were many partisans at the Constiutional Convention.  Ask Patrick Henry.

      "Now we are engaged in a great civil war testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure."

      by nklein on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 08:37:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Again, I disagree (0+ / 0-)

        When you make false statements that "nothing can get through the Senate" you are simply mistaken--- Could the senate have done more! absolutely-- have there been times when the senate has failed to seize initiative- absolutely--- but the senate has continued to function despite the decrease in corresponding house activity since Boehner became speaker. When Pelosi and Reid were working together as majorities a decent amount of legislation became law (e.g, the affordable care act).  I agree we have to work to make things better, but lets always dialogue without making simplistic declarative statements that are easily proven false.

        * These figures include all measures reported, even if there was no accompanying
        report. A total of 29 written reports have been filed in the Senate,
        130 reports have been filed in the House.
        Re´sume´ of Congressional Activity
        The first table gives a comprehensive re´sume´ of all legislative business transacted by the Senate and House.
        The second table accounts for all nominations submitted to the Senate by the President for Senate confirmation.
        January 5 through June 30, 2011
        Senate House Total
        Days in session .................................... 76 77 . .
        Time in session ................................... 541 hrs., 0′ 515 hrs., 12′ . .
        Congressional Record:
        Pages of proceedings ................... 4,308 4,581 . .
        Extensions of Remarks ................ . . 1,221 . .
        Public bills enacted into law ............... 9 14 23
        Private bills enacted into law .............. . . . . . .
        Bills in conference ............................... 1 1 . .
        Measures passed, total ......................... 184 166 350
        Senate bills .................................. 15 6 . .
        House bills .................................. 13 60 . .
        Senate joint resolutions ............... 3 3 . .
        House joint resolutions ............... 2 3 . .
        Senate concurrent ........................ 9 3 . .
        House concurrent ........................ 9 13 . .
        Simple resolutions ....................... 133 78 . .
        Measures reported, total ...................... *66 *113 179
        Senate bills .................................. 38 1 . .
        House bills .................................. 3 63 . .
        Senate joint resolutions ............... 1 . . . .
        House joint resolutions ............... . . 2 . .
        Senate concurrent ........................ 1 . . . .
        House concurrent ........................ . . 2 . .
        Simple resolutions ....................... 23 45 . .
        Special reports ..................................... 9 17 . .
        Conference reports ............................... . . . . . .
        Measures pending on calendar ............. 72 24 . .
        Measures introduced, total .................. 1,595 2,873 4,468
        Bills ............................................. 1,323 2,405 . .
        Joint resolutions .......................... 23 70 . .
        Concurrent resolutions ................ 24 62 . .
        Simple resolutions ....................... 225 336 . .
        Quorum calls ....................................... 2 2 . .
        Yea-and-nay votes ............................... 104 130 . .
        Recorded votes .................................... . . 361 . .
        •  The problem with the Senate is procedural, NOT (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Constitutional. They are not following the rules laid down in the Constitution for how the Senate is supposed to operate. They have made up their own rules, and then refused to abide by them either. And they stubbornly refuse to change the misbegotten mess of rules that they can't even follow.

          The Senate needs to go back to basics. No "cloture" nonsense; no "filibuster" nonsense; none of this interminable wheel-spinning. Just follow the rules and don't over-complicate them.

          That will go far to fix the Senate - but it's so obvious and so sensible that they'll never do it.

          If it's
          Not your body
          Then it's
          Not your choice
          AND it's
          None of your damn business!

          by TheOtherMaven on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 09:31:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There are no rules from the Constitution. . . (0+ / 0-)

            The specifically states that each house may create their own rules.

            The problem is constitutional.

            "Now we are engaged in a great civil war testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure."

            by nklein on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 12:14:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  And yet even with a supermajority . . . (0+ / 0-)

          for at least part of a year.  In the stimulus bill, they made half of it tax cuts.  When people would have been so grateful for a CCC or more infrastructure spending.

          They pass a healthcare bill that didn't have a public option, no national insurance exchange program, no reimportation of Canadian drugs. . . and no Medicare for all.

          They pass a financial reform bill that is full of empty resolutions that are being gutted by lobbyists and stalled by the Senate.

          And they pass a 9/11 healthcare bill that doesn't cover cancer of 9/11 workers.  CANCER!

          I do not doubt the earnestness of Democratic legislators and President Obama, but this is not working.

          It doesn't matter how many laws you pass if they don't help people.  I can pass a thousand naming of post office bills through the Senate.  Can we pass cap and trade?

          "Now we are engaged in a great civil war testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure."

          by nklein on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 12:34:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The Government should fund Public Option.......... (0+ / 0-)

    directly, bypass The Fed for this, just print it.  Th Gov't is already just printing money.  The Fed monopolizes the distribution.

    Doctors are smart and enjoy investing and politics, and have the time for it.  The banks will have to behave and treat them nice.

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